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Don’t Let Your Self-Published Freedom Go to Your Authorial Head

Delving further into our publishing possibilities for today’s writing Definition of the Week (as posted on Innovative Editing’s Facebook page), let’s discuss what it means to be a self-published author.

Here’s the definition...


Another self-explanatory-sounding definition, right? It’s when you publish your own work at your own expense, accepting your own risk.

Self-publishing gives authors a whole lot of freedom. Freedom to decide their own content, their own covers, their own price and, to some extent, their own markets.

It can be a great cheap option if you know what to expect and who to work with. If you don’t know what to expect and who to work with though, things can go badly.

Why fixate on the freedom aspect in that second paragraph? There’s good reason, I assure you.

Publishing your book is a business project, one that either involves signing a contract – an agreement – with someone else or working for yourself.

If you choose to work with a traditional publishing company, then you need to understand that they buy the rights to your story manuscript, which usually means they have final say in what you write, how you write it and how you present it.

With smaller publishing companies, that might mean less editorial attention than you need.

With larger publishing companies, it might mean both (or either) more and less editorial attention than you need.

They might tell you to hack out whole sections of your manuscript – parts you know very well should be in there no matter how many times you’re told they’re not “marketable.” Or they might be so hungry to push out your book that they leave your story line limp, lifeless or downright pointless in places.

There’s also the issue of your front cover. What’s it going to look like? Well, they have final say in the matter. Sometimes, that works out for the book’s best. Sometimes it doesn’t.

As with just about everything else in life, there are pros and cons to being traditionally published and self-published. It’s just that freedom is a check mark for self-publishing.

It’s also a potential con.

Freedom can be a heady experience. It can also be overwhelming. Making up the rules and figuring things out for yourself isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s downright difficult – though rarely impossible.

So authors who self-publish are bound to make mistakes along the way. It’s a learning experience, filled with rejections and triumphs, lows and highs. And Innovative Editing can only help you out so much in these complimentary blog posts.

If you want or need a more tailored, guided self-publishing experience, then send me an email at But even if you don’t, please keep reading. For your own sake, emotional and financial.

There are plenty of publishing companies out there who call themselves self-publishers. And I suppose they are. Yet they’re a very predatory sort that you want to avoid like the plague.

We’re going to discuss these so-called “vanity publishers” next week. This week, however, here are three reputable self-publishing companies to consider:

Personally, I’ve only ever used CreateSpace. It’s a business I highly recommend considering how easily I can navigate the site and how inexpensively I can publish my novels.

There are plenty of paid options for writers looking for some added help, but you can also do it all yourself if you so choose – for free – which is a feature I love.

As far as I’ve heard and seen, Lulu and Blurb offer the same benefits. Though do your own due diligence, of course.

Authors in general have to look out for themselves during the publishing process. But self-published authors especially have to be on constant guard to protect themselves and their manuscripts.

None of this is meant to scare you. It’s just to keep you as safe as possible.

Being a self-published author has a lot of perks – namely that freedom I mentioned before. You just have to temper them with wisdom and some serious business savvy while you’re at it.


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